T-Mobile First to Offer Android Smartphone

Google Android

Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA will be the first carrier to offer a mobile phone based on Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android software, the New York Times reported, citing people briefed on the company’s plans.

The high-end phone, which will be made by the world’s top smartphone maker High Tech Computer Corp., is expected to challenge Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone as well as other smartphones that run software from Palm (NASDAQ: PALM), Research in Motion, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Nokia.

The phone is expected to go on sale in the U.S. before Christmas and perhaps as early as October, the paper said.

Neither Google nor T-Mobile immediately returned calls seeking comment.

Last November, Google introduced its highly anticipated Android software for designing mobile phone devices, in a move it promised could help the mobile phone industry make the Internet work as smoothly on phones as it does on computers.

In addition to T-Mobile, Android counts dozens of partners from across the mobile phone industry. China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier with nearly 400 million accounts, likely will have its launch delayed until late 2008 or early 2009 due to Chinese translation problems, reports have indicated.

Recent weeks have seen a surge of new initiatives by competitors in advance of the Android launch.

For instance, Nokia earlier this year pledged to open source the Symbian mobile operating system — the world’s most-popular mobile OS — in a move seen in part as a way to undercut the open source support for Android.

Rival open source mobile software developers at the LiMo Foundation have been touting their latest designs, which industry observers interpreted as an attempt at a bulwark against Google and Apple, which earlier this year rolled out its 3G iPhone.

Android has extended an informal olive branch to LiMo, however, suggesting that the foundation’s developers are welcome to join the Google-led project. Both efforts have a similar basis in Linux.

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